2013 Centenary Women's Lacrosse Season Preview

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. Centenary College lacrosse coach John McCloskey believes that if things break the Cyclones' way this year, they can be a very competitive team in the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC).

"We're not 25 players deep like some other teams," said McCloskey. "But every kid is committed and plays the way we want."

Last season Centenary continued building its winning tradition by going 10-5 overall and 5-3 in conference, earning their fourth consecutive winning season. For their efforts the Cyclones earned the fourth seed in the conference tournament and with it, a home game in which they defeated Neumann University. However, an injury plagued Cyclones team would fall in the semifinals to the eventual-runner-up Marywood University.

The successful season featured a number of notable victories over non-conference teams such Cazenovia College, Rutgers-Camden, and Wesley College as well as CSAC wins over Cedar Crest College and Notre Dame of Maryland University of Maryland. Although Centenary has lost some big pieces from that team, including two-time First Team All-CSAC member Danielle Bay, the Cyclones have restocked and are looking forward to this season.

The strength of the Cyclones 2013 team starts at the midfield position with a pair of senior-captains in Alysia Pinkerton (Frenchtown, NJ, Delaware Valley Regional) and Nicole Judd (St. Louis, MO, Lafayette). Pinkerton had a banner season last year, as the Second Team All-CSAC member led the Cyclones and finished third in the conference with 91 draws controlled.

Pinkerton also scored 35 goals and assisted on seven more for 45 points, while scooping up 63 ground balls. While Judd's offensive stats don't jump off the page at you, she's the type of player that every team needs to be successful. The consummate team player, Judd was reliable all season and finished second on the team in controlled draws with 48 and tied for third with 44 ground balls. With both players returning, the Cyclones hold a distinct advantage in draws and McCloskey looks forward to that.

"With recent rule changes you can now only have three players going after the ball as opposed to five," said McCloskey. "But our drawers are going to be fine because they have the ability to draw it to themselves or other players."

Aside from the experience from Pinkerton and Judd, the Cyclones will also rely heavily on freshman Kristen M. Rabenstein (Spring Grove, Spring Grove Area High School) to step in and play a big role right away. Despite being young, McCloskey expects Rabenstein to be aggressive while going after draw controls and ground balls.

In addition to the midfield, McCloskey also expects his contingency at attack to contribute with key goals. Leading the way are seniors Arden Wright (Coatesville,PA, Coatesville) and Allie Swartz (Marlton, NJ, Cherokee), who both bring the important upperclassmen experience to help the team. Wright, a starter in every game last season, finished with 16 goals and will be expected to find the back of the cage even more this season. Swartz had the best year of her career as a Cyclone last season, finishing with 33 goals and 15 assists, as she scored in all but one game. The Cyclones will also look for contributions from a pair of freshmen at attack with Carlie Schmitt (Stewartstown, Kennard-Dale High School) and Devin Sutko (Cinnaminson, Cinnaminson High School) seeing extended roles this season.

Defensively the Cyclones are planning to start sophomores Kelsey Walter (Hackettstown, NJ, Hackettstown) and Brittlyn Dendy (Waldwick,NJ, Waldwick), in addition to a pair of freshmen in Erica Tripp (Vernon, N.J., Vernon) and Kelly Conklin (Monroe Township, Monrow Township High School). Last season as a freshman Dendy had an immediate impact, as she split time between offense and defense and came away with 33 ground balls and 24 caused turnovers. In addition to Dendy starting every game, Walter also saw action in nine games while starting two. The defense of the Cyclones has been the biggest challenge in recent seasons and many are hoping this is the year the defense can match the excellence of the offense.

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